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Free online car insurance quotes

Car insurance quotes estimate the cost for a policy with your selected coverage. Rates vary based on several factors, including your vehicle type, driving history, coverage and the insurance company.

Updated Sep 23, 2022
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What are car insurance quotes?

A car insurance quote is an estimate of your insurance premium with a specific carrier based on your chosen coverage and driver profile. When shopping for car insurance, every carrier will prepare one for you as a proposal of coverage and cost, and it will be personalized to your individual characteristics, like years of driving experience, location, annual mileage and more. Having a quote in hand makes it easy to compare rates across more than one carrier, and allows you to see the difference in optional coverage, discounts and price offered by each company.

Getting a car insurance quote doesn’t mean you’re obligated to buy insurance from that company. Instead, it’s a chance to consider the coverage and compare quotes to find the best car insurance for you. Keep in mind that the quoted premium is typically not the actual final policy cost and it could still change when you purchase the policy after the insurer’s underwriting process is complete. This may happen if additional personal, driving record or claims history information is found. It’s best to provide as much information as you can up front when requesting quotes to ensure a more accurate price.

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Key takeaways
  • Exploring different carriers and requesting free car insurance quotes ensures you find the cheapest car insurance with the coverage you want.
  • Your driving history is analyzed when it comes to determining your rate. Any moving violations, at-fault accidents and DUIs can impact your final premium.
  • Knowing how much coverage you need — and what optional coverage to include — helps build a car insurance policy tailored to your budget and risk level. If you’re unsure where to start, talking to an agent can help.

How do I get free car insurance quotes?

All car insurance quotes are free whether you obtain them online or work with an insurance agent. Below is a brief guide on how to get car insurance and what each method looks like:

Shop for auto insurance online

Many companies now allow customers to quote a car insurance policy online through their website. After providing some personal information, you can then select the coverage types and limits that you want. Some companies may let you start the policy immediately with a payment, while others may finish the process by having one of their representatives call you over the phone.

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Takeaway:

Starting a car insurance quote online might be ideal for drivers with an intermediate knowledge of insurance and who are not in a complex situation. They may be the only driver on the policy, for example, or may be insuring one vehicle and already know what liability limits, deductibles and add-on coverages they want.

Contact a captive insurance agent

A captive insurance agent, sometimes also called an “exclusive” or “dedicated” insurance agent, is an insurance agent that works on behalf of only one insurance company. This type of agent only sells the insurance products their company offers, but will have a strong knowledge of the company’s underwriting guidelines and claims process. They earn a commission based on performance and don’t charge additional fees for their service.

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Takeaway:

Many major car insurance companies, such as State Farm, Allstate and Farmers, operate through captive insurance agents. This means that there are local agencies nationwide that can help not only with car insurance, but also creating an entire insurance plan. If you want personalized service from a major car insurance company, working with a captive agent could be the best strategy.

Work with an independent insurance agent

In contrast to a captive agent, who represents a single insurance company, an independent insurance agent represents multiple carriers. They are also commonly referred to as brokers. An independent agent will shop for your coverage selections with different carriers they represent to provide you with comparable quotes.
 
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If you have difficulty qualifying for car insurance, whether due to a driving infraction or previous car insurance history, or you are curious to see what other carriers might offer, an independent agent can help. They have access to more insurance carriers than a captive agent, and will be able to search on your behalf for a company that suits you. An independent agent may charge a fee for their services if you purchase a policy with them. They may also not have access to all carriers that you are interested in.

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Insurance Disclosure

Coverage.com, LLC is a licensed insurance producer (NPN: 19966249). Coverage.com services are only available in states where it is licensed. Coverage.com may not offer insurance coverage in all states or scenarios. All insurance products are governed by the terms in the applicable insurance policy, and all related decisions (such as approval for coverage, premiums, commissions and fees) and policy obligations are the sole responsibility of the underwriting insurer. The information on this site does not modify any insurance policy terms in any way.

How to shop for car insurance quotes

If you’re wondering how to get quotes for car insurance, the first step is to request a quote online or contact an agent. Both processes are generally the same. You’ll share some information about yourself and pick the coverage levels and options that you want, which the company will then use to prepare your car insurance quote. If you don’t know what coverage types you want or need, an agent can make recommendations based on your information.

What documents do I need to prepare?

In addition to gathering personal and vehicle information, it can help to have a few other documents on hand, such as:

  • Current policy declarations: If you already have car insurance, it’s important that you compare any new quote with your current coverage. This will help the agent ensure they can prepare an accurate quote for you with similar coverage levels and options. If you’re getting a quote online, knowing what your current policy declarations are can also help to ensure that you aren’t accidentally choosing less coverage or a higher or lower deductible than what you already have.
  • Vehicle registration or purchase agreement: Once you’re ready to purchase your policy, you may be asked to provide the vehicle’s current registration and odometer readings. If you’re buying a new vehicle, you can share the purchase agreement once you’ve received it.
  • Documents for discount verification: If you are eligible for any discounts that require verification, such as a professional or organization membership, you may need to share proof to add the discount to your policy. Or, if you have a young driver on your policy who qualifies for a good student discount, the company may request a recent transcript to verify their GPA.

How to get the right car insurance quote for me

An important part of shopping for car insurance is knowing how much coverage you need. Some things to consider are how much you can comfortably pay for your deductibles if you want comprehensive and collision coverage, as well as your overall financial situation to figure out your liability amounts. Once you know this, it may be beneficial to try to make sure all chosen coverage and limits, as well as deductibles, are identical in all your quotes. This will ensure that you can compare carriers fairly and that you’re not accidentally choosing a cheaper option with less coverage.

Additionally, it’s important to be accurate when providing information for your car insurance quote. Providing anonymous information could give you a highly inaccurate premium estimate, and you will need to provide the following information below to receive a final quote and bind the policy.

What can affect my car insurance quotes/rates?

A wide range of car insurance rating factors is used by insurers to calculate your insurance quote. Some of these include:

Age and gender

The age and gender of a driver often play an important role in determining car insurance rates. Demographic groups that are shown to engage in riskier driving behaviors, such as young drivers, male drivers and senior drivers, typically face higher rates. However, using age and gender as a component of car insurance rates is not allowed in some states. Massachusetts and Hawaii ban the use of both age and gender, while California, Michigan, North Carolina and Pennsylvania do not use gender when calculating car insurance premiums.

Driving history

Perhaps the most influential factor of car insurance rates, your driving history is closely analyzed when calculating car insurance quotes, as it indicates risky driving behavior. If you have a speeding ticket, at-fault accident or DUI on your record, you may find that your rates are more expensive than prior to the incident.

The average rates below from different car insurance companies show how premiums may change after an incident; your individual rate may be higher or lower depending on your car insurance rating factors. Incidents will typically impact your premium for three to five years, but usually will lessen in premium surcharge with each passing year.

  Clean record Speeding ticket At-fault accident DUI conviction
National average $1,771 $2,138 $2,521 $3,421
AAA $2,389 $2,912 $3,453 $5,146
Geico $1,297 $1,586 $1,900 $3,196
Progressive $1,561 $2,030 $2,507 $2,049
State Farm $1,397 $1,606 $1,769 $2,293

Location

Where you live also plays a role in your car insurance premium. For example, cities may be more congested than rural areas and also have higher costs of labor and parts when it comes to repairing a vehicle after an accident. While almost all states permit the use of ZIP code in determining car insurance rates, Michigan does not and California limits the ways insurers can use it.

Credit score

Credit score, or more accurately, your credit-based insurance score, can be used by insurance companies in many states to predict the risk of claims being filed in the future. People with a lower credit score may be more likely to file claims compared to those with a higher credit score, according to actuarial studies conducted by the Insurance Information Institute. Because of this added risk, insurance companies may charge a higher premium to insure a driver with a lower credit-based insurance score. California, Hawaii, Massachusetts and Michigan ban or restrict the use of credit as a rating factor in car insurance.

Credit Tier Annual average cost for full coverage car insurance
Excellent $1,556
Good $1,771
Average $1,907
Poor $3,002

Vehicle

The type of car you drive also plays an important role in your car insurance premium. Luxury vehicles tend to have high premiums, due in part to expensive repair costs for labor and parts. Technology-based safety sensors can make your car safer, for instance, but may actually drive your premium up because they are so expensive to repair or replace. Contrary to popular belief, economy cars may not always result in the cheapest premium either. Because so many of them are on the road, it’s more likely that they will be involved in an accident or be targeted for vandalism and theft.

Frequently asked questions about online auto insurance quotes

Our Methodology

Bankrate utilizes Quadrant Information Services to analyze 2022 rates for all ZIP codes and carriers in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Rates are weighted based on the population density in each geographic region. Quoted rates are based on a 40-year-old male and female driver with a clean driving record, good credit and the following full coverage limits:

  • $100,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $300,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $50,000 property damage liability per accident
  • $100,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per person
  • $300,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per accident
  • $500 collision deductible
  • $500 comprehensive deductible

To determine minimum coverage limits, Bankrate used minimum coverage that meets each state’s requirements. Our base profile drivers own a 2020 Toyota Camry, commute five days a week and drive 12,000 miles annually.

These are sample rates and should only be used for comparative purposes.

Incidents: Rates were calculated by evaluating our 2022 base profile with the following incidents applied: clean record (base), at-fault accident, single speeding ticket, single DUI conviction and lapse in coverage.

Credit-Based Insurance Scores: These 2022 rates were calculated based on the following insurance credit tiers assigned to our drivers: “poor, average, good (base) and excellent.” Insurance credit tiers factor in your official credit scores but are not dependent on that variable alone. Four states prohibit insurers from using credit-based insurance scores as a rating factor in determining auto insurance rates: California, Hawaii, Massachusetts and Michigan.

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Written by
June Sham
Insurance Writer

June Sham is an insurance writer for Bankrate. Before joining the team, she worked for nearly three years as a licensed producer writing auto, property, umbrella and earthquake policies.

Edited by Insurance Editor
Reviewed by Director of corporate communications, Insurance Information Institute